The Quebec Liberal Party is holding its platform convention this weekend in Quebec City.
The three-day event will set the tone and the agenda going into the next provincial election. Leader Dominique Anglade promises it will be “daring” and focused on combatting climate change.
Anglade is hoping her first party convention as Liberal leader will be a chance to redefine the party after a rocky start.
However, Friday night, in front of 800 party delegates, Anglade announced a new plan to set the Liberals apart and make fighting climate change their top priority.
She calls it Project Eco. It’s a plan to nationalize the production of green hydrogen, a clean alternative to fossil fuels that can be used for ships and planes.
“We’re talking about a Liberal government commitment of almost $100 billion by 2050 to actively confront the climate crisis,” Anglade explained.
“I’ve always believed that we needed a vision for society. We haven’t had a big project for a society in a very long time and I think it’s about time we proposed something,” Anglade told reporters before her speech.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government has also included green hydrogen in its Green Economy 2030 Plan, but hasn’t made any major investments.
The shift towards an environmentally-conscious Liberal Party is in direct contrast, it says, to the government, which Thursday announced $11 billion of new spending, but made no mention of climate change.
“I was in Glasgow,” Liberal MNA Carlos Leitao said, referring to the COP26 conference in Scotland earlier this month.
“As was the premier and the minister of the environment, but obviously it appears we didn’t go to the same conferences, because that same sense of urgency doesn’t appear to be there with the current government.”
Anglade said Quebecers can only depend on the the Liberal Party to find practical solutions to the climate crisis.
“I’m certainly not going to count on the CAQ to find the solution. This is a government stuck in the last century — a government whose idea of progress is to put more cars on the road with more autoroutes leading to an already-congested downtown core,” she said.
Anglade also criticized the pro-environment Quebec Solidaire for not being concerned about the economy as well.
“For them, life is simple: Has it got a motor? Has it got a chimney? Does it put people to work? Get rid of it,” she said.
The party is betting its ambitious plan will attract voters who feel the same way about protecting the environment.
Anglade also included a portion of her speech for English-speaking Quebecers in light of recent comments made by Premier François Legault.
“I have a message for him and to all English-speaking Quebecers: yes, you are part of our history, but so much more than that,” she said.
She continued, “Yes, I hear your concern and, yes, your suspicion, when you witness the Premier choosing the word ‘historic’ to describe your place here. Well, let him understand, here, now and always: you are Quebecers — à part entière— and expect to be so recognized in words, in actions, in law — today and every day.”
The first day of the convention, Liberal MNAs also openly embraced the labels “federalist” and “progressive,” after the caucus floated the idea of becoming more nationalist in order to attract more francophone voters.
“We have a responsibility as the Liberal party of Quebec to find a balance. And it exists between the promotion, the securing of our French language in Quebec, a health pride for that language, which is expressed as nationalism and securing and recognizing the place of English-speaking Quebec,” said David Birnbaum, the Liberal critic for relations with English-speaking Quebecers.
Global News recently covered the Coalition Avenir Quebec convention. For more details, click here.